The musical festivities at the Los Lobos show this past Cinco De Mayo at the Greek Theatre, kicked off on the main stage with Mariachi El Bronx and what better way to continue the day’s celebrations! Mariachi El Bronx, L.A.’s very own punk mariachi hybrid superstars, took to the stage first serenading the crowd with various tunes such as “The Great Provider,” “Slave Labor,” “Cell Mates,” “Norteno Lights” and “Revolution Girl,” which began to get the crowd pumped for the exceptional event to come. Lead Singer, Matt Caughthran, provided not only a humble thanks to the other bands but the crowd as well, and easily convinced them to clap along throughout the set. While the boys didn’t move around too much on stage, the music definitely moved the people.
Los Angeles’ beloved punk originals, X, then took to the stage to a roar of immediate applause. Bassist/vocalist John Doe, greeted the crowd with a “Hello, Feliz Cinco de Mayo,” but also with a disclaimer that their set contained no Cinco De Mayo cultural content. Yet, all original members—singer Exene Cervenka, John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer DJ Bonebrake are a L.A. cultural and musical institution in themselves. Seeing them live gave the crowd plenty to celebrate about as L.A. loves X, straight up! Roaring through the most energetic set of the night, almost non-stop, they played tons of classics such as “In This House I Call Home,” “White Girl,” “True Love,” “Los Angeles,” “Because I Do,” etc. to a crowd that returned the love by shaking their booties in their seats and giving a standing ovation at the end of their set.
Last but not least were headliners and East L.A. legends, Los Lobos. L.A. City Councilman, Tom LeBonge busted right onto the stage declaring May 5th, Los Lobos Day, a proper and fitting bow to Los Lobos—another L.A. musical and cultural institution. Led by frontmen David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, the band kicked off into a powerhouse set spanning their discography of old and new songs. Touching upon all styles from Mexican folk, cumbia, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll—Los Lobos had the crowd dancing, clapping, and singing along all night. Not that they needed it, but Los Lobos got by with a little help from their friends.
American singer-songwriter, Neko Case, joined in on vocals, showcasing lovely harmonies on “Saint Behind the Glass” and “One Night.” Old friend and guitarist/singer Alejandro Escovedo touched down with some soulful tunes: “Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)” and “Rebel Kind,” a vintage classic from his True Believers band days. Grammy Award Winner, Flaco Jimenez also joined in for a couple of tunes bringing the house down with his signature accordion-style Tejano. And just when you thought you couldn’t get enough, Los Lobos rounded out the evening with surprise guests Dave and Phil Alvin from the Blasters who added more sparkle to the star-studded evening with “4th of July” and “Marie Marie.” When singer/multi-instrumentalist David Hidalgo proclaimed, “Let’s get this party started right now!” at the beginning of the set, he sure wasn’t joking! Guepa! Now, that’s a Los Lobos party!
Words: Emily Saex
Photography: Monique Hernandez
Mariachi El Bronx
Click through the photo gallery below for more photos of all three bands!